Ceracolors wax paint (part II)

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As promised, I am continuing my review of Ceracolors wax paint. Above is the completed test painting done on an untreated cradled wood panel. In my review part I, I tested the paint on some acid-free mat board. I really liked the way it handled and had no problems adjusting to its characteristics.

Today, my review continues with how the paint handles on the untreated wood panel. I applied Ceracolors in Titanium White straight onto the small scrap panel with a palette knife as a background. It kinda looks like vanilla frosting and it spreads easily like it, too. 😋

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Afterwards, I applied heat with a heat gun while the paint was still wet and noticed some bubbling.

When working with hot wax (encaustic) on untreated wood, there is always some off-gassing. This is because wood is always in various states of fluctuation, adjusting to the moisture level in the atmosphere. This fluctuation causes little pits to form in the molten wax and is inconsequential with regard to the structural integrity of the encaustic art work.

In the case of Ceracolors, I am working with a water miscible wax paint. As the paint dries and moisture evaporates, the paint forms cracks and flakes off slightly. This is bad news regardless of how cool the cracked texture looks in some parts. I’m hoping this problem will be resolved with the application of encaustic gesso (keeping fingers crossed and I will do another review that includes the results). The application of gesso on a substrate is standard practice in oil and acrylic painting.

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Now onto the good part. As you can see with the little abstract test piece, you can get some really neat effects. You can apply the paint thickly straight out of the tube for impasto. You can water it down and get light watercolour effects. And you can use sgrafitto technicque and scratch into the paint without waiting a long time for paint to dry. The sgrafitto technique produces white lines or pointillist effects in my piece. The little white dots and lines were made by just scratching in with a sharp metal wire. I love the fact that you can do this, and in some of my watercolour paintings I have used white acrylic paint to get the same effect.

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Below is another detail in close-up:

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I am very excited and look forward to discovering many more things that you can do with this versatile paint. I’ll keep you posted.

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Oil painting study: “acrylic orange”

A while back, I was experimenting with paint. I loved the look of oil paint but hated the smell of it. My limited exposure to oils was when I was in high school (a very long time ago), I think the brand was Grumbacher. It was the traditional type of paint that came in a tube, made with linseed oil and you needed solvents to modify and clean it up. It turned me off of oils completely.

Now we have many more options: some oils are water miscible, some are made with safflower oil and some are made with walnut oil like M. Graham. I can attest to M. Graham having no offensive odour at all. Suddenly, there are opportunities for working in oil. If any of you had the same experience, rejoice!

Below is a small study I did with acrylics to emulate an oil painting. It does not have varnish on it yet (the varnish would deepen and saturate the colours to make it look more like oils). In this study, I was aiming for a chiaroscuro effect through the contrast of highlights and shadows; this effect would also aid in its composition and singular subject matter:

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